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:: Help! I'm A Fish

The story and characters of Help! I’m a Fish display about as much imagination as the title. However the target audience may be too young to remember the Little Mermaid or Atlantis so perhaps the predictable plot will only bore their adult chaperones. Unlike Shrek or A Toy Story, this one is strictly for the kiddies.

The story concerns three children, Fly, his younger sister Stella and their cousin Chuck, who sneak out for a fishing trip and, via a mad old professor (Terry Jones from Monty Python), end up as fish at the bottom of the ocean. There they come up against Jo (Alan Rickman), a super smart fish with dreams of ruling the world. They race against time to return to their human selves, though the fate of the tyrannised fish population is left unresolved. It may be silly to quibble about plot holes in a children’s film, but still they were large and numerous, so any but the youngest of audiences will question it. The lessons learned by the young children seem rather ill fitting, as though imposed for the sake of a ‘moral’.

The animation is simple and at times quite beautiful, particularly the underwater titles sequence but the musical interludes are neither catchy nor flowing. Alan Rickman’s smooth, deliciously evil voice is always a treat but Terry Jones seems wasted.

The film was made in Scandinavia and won the Children’s Jury Award at the 2000 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Unfortunately it still feels like the poor cousin of a Hollywood film. At least, unlike recent non-animated kid’s films, Help! I’m A Fish is a very child friendly eighty minutes long.